Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To Eat A Peach

I love peaches.  When we bought the land at this little place here, one of the first thing I did was plant three peach trees.  Then I waited for them to get mature enough to bear fruit.  Once they did, I found that I loved peaches even more.  A peach, in season, bought by the bushel for canning, tastes pretty darn good.  A peach, dead ripe, plucked from your very own tree and still warm from the sun, tastes awesome.

When I figured out, earlier this summer, that the solid week of freezing nights we'd had late this spring, after all my fruit trees had been in blossom for 3-10 days (depending on variety), had killed all those embryonic fruits and that I would get no peaches (or any other fruit) from this little place here in 2012, I was bummed.

Okay, bummed is an understatement.  I was very upset.  I was so upset, I even sank low enough to buy a can of peaches from the store and eat them.  Blech.  Rock hard, very little peach flavor, much sugar.

Canned peaches from the store being very firmly ruled out, I decided I would have to find somewhere to obtain fresh peaches so I could still can my own this year.

After several weeks of squeezing peaches in stores, I finally found a few that didn't feel like lumps of cement.  They gave a bit when squeezed, so I bought them.  And tried to eat them.  Tried.  Couldn't.  It was even more devastating than realizing my trees were bare. First of all, it had been defuzzed.  I prefer my peaches au naturel, with fuzz.  Secondly, it was dry, not juicy.  Thirdly, it had a texture somewhat akin to oatmeal, which I have not yet acquired an appreciation for.  It's rather like eating paste, and I gave that up in early grade school.  Fourthly, there was no peach flavor.  None.  Blech, blech, and double blech!

Desperate, I searched the internet and contacted orchards within an hour of me.  "Nope, no peaches."  "No, sorry ma'am, ours got froze out too."  "No, unfortunately we have no peaches this year."

Then I hit upon a brilliant idea.  I would go out of state!  Not that I would do this just for peaches, but I was going to be heading out of state to deliver DD1 to college, and then going way far north in my own state to visit DS2 at his college.  Maybe I could find peaches on my travels.

Hope renewed, that was my plan: buy peaches from somewhere 'local' to where I was when I found them.  Somewhere on my route to do motherly goodness.  Gas expense justified :0)

Well, I realized in Minnesota that even if I should locate peaches there, they would never be good by the time I got home from visiting DS2.  Ripe peaches, ready for canning, are pretty perishable.  They wouldn't survive the non-refrigerated multi-day journey from purchase in MN to the northern wilderness of MI and back to this little place here before hitting my canner. I really didn't want bushels of peach mush in the back of my suburban the third day after purchase.  Well, darn.

I turned my hopes to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).  The afternoon before returning to this little place here, I did find some peaches.  Unfortunately not in quantity enough for canning.  The U.P. is a different zone than this little place here, and their fruit trees blossomed out later than mine, and escaped the late frost of the lower peninsula.  The farmer I happened upon, however, did not have many trees, and he'd had several canning customers before I drove by him at the side of the road with his little farm stand.


I bought a few peaches anyway, just for eating fresh.  They were delicious.  The memory of their flavor, texture, juiciness and fuzz will have to tide me over until next year, when hopefully I will again have my own fresh-from-the-tree peaches.

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